Cheap laptop is often hard to choose because there are so many models available. I would say most are at least alright but some happen to be lemons. Today, we’ll tell you more about HP 15-f162dx, a budget notebook with Core i3 processor and a touchscreen. Below, we’ll figure out whether it’s a keeper or something to stay away from.
Intel Core i3-4030U is a popular processor in budget and lower mid range laptops. It runs on two cores and features a 1.9GHz clock speed with no turbo available. The processor is a very decent one, reaching 2700 grade in PassMark tests with other mobile i3s falling in the range of 2000 and 3000 points. All the daily actions, including videos from streaming services and DVDs, work well on this kind of a CPU.
HP 15-f162dx has six gigabytes RAM installed, a balanced amount between minimum 4GB and power-user friendly 8 gigabytes. The configuration is 2+4GB chips, occupying the both memory slots on the system. Swapping them out should be easy in case you want to add some extra RAM. But if you ask me, not many people need to do that. The current 6GB is rather plenty, allowing for multitasking and lag free user experience.
In this laptop, storage is provided by a 750GB hard drive. Again I must say it’s a happy medium: many cheap notebooks sport a basic 500GB drive while models bit pricier than this have a terabyte drive. The 750GB is able to hold dozens of games and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of images, so size shouldn’t be problem. If it’s performance you’re after, you should be able to remove the hard drive and put a swift SSD in. Pretty much every laptop these days supports that modification.
Graphics and screen
HP 15-f162dx has a touchscreen, which combined with pre-loaded Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is a nice tool for kids and perhaps the elderly. Many professionals and even casual users continue to use keyboard and trackpad because it’s just so damn convenient – even on the Microsoft’s latest that some accuse as hard to use, a fact I don’t agree on. The display size (15.6″) and resolution (1366×768) are nothing ground breaking, being good enough for daily activities but offering little to Full HD hungry power users.
Cheap notebooks have problems with games. Because the manufacturer has neglected graphics performance, relying on feeble integrated graphics chips. It’s also evident in this laptop with Intel HD 4400 engine. Now, you can certainly play games on this notebook, but you won’t be able to enjoy full eye candy on most titles. For example, you’ll average around 20FPS on heavier games like Far Cry 3 and Battlefield 3/4 but only on low settings. If you enjoy easier games (like the popular Minecraft) you’re in much better position, getting smooth frames on higher details and resolution.
HP 15-f162dx has three USB ports like its competitors, but rare for this cheap laptop, two of those ports are USB 3.0 instead of the usual one. A compulsory HDMI output is there as well, meaning the HP supports monitors with HDMI-in (such as HDTVs and newer PC displays).
As you can see, the networking options of 100Mbps RJ-45 port and 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter are nothing fancy. No premium dual-band WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet speeds or Bluetooth are offered, but the current options should let you connect Internet without effort anyway.
HP 15-f162dx has a DVD burner, not as self-evident thing as it used to be. In addition to that, you can also use the built-in slot for SD memory cards.
The computer features a VGA webcam. It’s not up to today’s standards, although a cheap notebook can’t have it all. Skype is pre-loaded on the system so video chats right from the beginning shouldn’t be a problem.
Other noteworthy things
These 15 inch laptops are so-so for computing on the go. See, they weight around 5 pounds (HP 15-f162dx 5.05 pounds exactly), which some find perfectly fine. On the other hand, those traveling a lot probably prefer a lighter version. The 3-cell battery isn’t great for road warriors either: official specifications list it good for just 3.5 hours.
The island style keyboard has no illuminated keys, not a surprise for a budget model. However, as you can see from the product image, numeric keypad is located on the right.
Summing it up
Somebody who bought this item praised it as a solid deal. I somewhat agree: The inexpensive HP 15-f162dx indeed has a very decent Core i3 processor and 6GB RAM speeding it up. Touchscreen also adds value and with it, Windows 8.1 should be easier to use for some people. But it’s easy to overlook some things such as the battery life – which in this model is below 4 hours. I would advice against getting this kind of big and cheap laptop if you were to travel a lot. However, for everyday home or office computing I would recommend it, especially for the current, temptingly low price.